This is the fifteenth part of a fiction serial, in 805 words.
Terry was the first one to panic.
“We have to ring for an ambulance. There’s a phone box near the social club. I’ll get dressed and go now”. I was still holding on to Johnny, but Keith walked over and stopped Terry. “What are you going to tell them? That Johnny died in a fight with his mates? That’s still manslaughter you know, even if Johnny started it. Ten years at least, maybe more. And you think they will believe you weren’t invlolved? We were all here, so all responsible in the eyes of the law”.
Keith had dropped his posh accent, and succeeded in making his point. Terry flopped down onto a seat at the side, and put his head in his hands. “What we gonna do then?” Keith had worked out his response incredibly quickly.
“What we aren’t going to do is to panic. Everyone knows Johnny hasn’t been the same since he got out of jail, and his dad had to leave home after that thing with Big Viv. Sitting in his room, not washing, failing to show up for his crappy part-time job. That’s depression, that is, the classic signs. Withdrawn, not seeing his friends, not going out of the house. His mum will back that up, one hundred percent. So he arranges a farewell night with his best friends in the world. Goes out and gets pissed, then when we are all asleep, he walks down to Beachy Head and jumps off a cliff”.
I had to give it to Keith. He thought on his feet, and that was a great plan. Terry was less convinced.
“Nobody’s gonna believe he would top himself, not Johnny. He wouldn’t do anything like that. He started the fight, you two were only defending yourselves. A jury would see that”. Shaking his head, Keith continued to block the door, just in case Terry ran out to the phone box in his underpants. “You want to chance that, Terry? Really? Working-class kid from a dump of a London borough, and you reckon you can get justice in a Crown Court? Think again, old friend.”
It was time for me to speak up, so I told Terry to leave it to us. We would sort it, all he had to do was to stick to the story we would concoct later.
Outnumbered, he finally gave in, and nodded slowly. Keith was already in action. He found the tooth Johnny had thrown at him. and placed it carefully in Johnny’s mouth, under his tongue. Then he got a bottle of bleach from the bathroom, put some on a cloth, and cleaned up the few drops of blood and spit that were dotted around on the floor.
This was a very different Keith to the one I had grown up with. Absolutely cold, and quite heartless.
“Right. Me and Danny are going to take Johnny in the car to Beachy Head car park. At this time of night there shouldn’t be anyone around. Then we will have to carry him to the edge of the cliff, and throw him over. If you call anyone while we are away, I promise we will chuck you over the cliff next, okay?” Terry nodded again, his face glum. Keith carried on. “Then we do nothing until tomorrow morning. About nine should be early enough”.
He was so relaxed, it gave me the chills..
“We go to the site office and ask if they have seen Johnny. Say he must have gone out during the night. He was very drunk, and acting depressed. They won’t have seen him, so the next stage is to ring the police, and report him missing. We don’t contact anyone until after they find his body”.
Cool, calm, and collected. I was sincerely impressed. He was going to make a first-rate member of parliament one day, being able to come up with lies so fast.
He turned to me. “Right, get the car started. Don’t rev it up or anything, we don’t want to wake up any nosy neighbours. I found this crappy torch under the sink, it will have to do”. He held up an ancient rubber-covered Ever Ready, clicking it on so I could see it worked. With one of us holding him up either side, we carried Johnny out to my car and put him in the boot area. I had dropped one of the seat backs so we could lie him flat. Whoever was in the adjacent caravan had the lights out, and was probably asleep. Maybe it wasn’t even occupied. That would be a touch.
Driving slowly so as not to attract attention, I headed the car in the direction of Beachy Head. Keith turned to me just before we got to the deserted car park.
“Sure you’re up for this?”